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Improve your communication skills by learning to listen

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, medications perform a gap analysis, clinic construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, medications perform a gap analysis, clinic construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergy perform a gap analysis, construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, medications perform a gap analysis, clinic construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergy perform a gap analysis, construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergist perform a gap analysis, dermatologist construct a change exercise (training, store  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, medications perform a gap analysis, clinic construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergy perform a gap analysis, construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergist perform a gap analysis, dermatologist construct a change exercise (training, store  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, stuff perform a gap analysis, ed construct a change exercise (training, thumb  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, medications perform a gap analysis, clinic construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergy perform a gap analysis, construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergist perform a gap analysis, dermatologist construct a change exercise (training, store  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, stuff perform a gap analysis, ed construct a change exercise (training, thumb  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, there construct a change exercise (training, resuscitator  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, treat construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change as a low-risk approach to process improvement. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, click perform a gap analysis, troche construct and implement a change exercise (training, youth health  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to my next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and the short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and is more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his neck and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve; it’s about 15 feet long:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. Re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change; it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and all the aborted monstrosities and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal, but probably not.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 

Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave on listening skills at ALE 2014.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won't come from a new process or tool for organizing work, allergy  but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That's why I've been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, sickness  Scrum, visit this  SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here's what I've found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it's not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn't. That's not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won't interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don't ask "are you done?" That's a leading question. Ask some variation of "is there anything else?" When there's nothing else, it's your turn. You'll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn't about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, "Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?" No, she probably doesn't say that. What she says instead is "What the hell were you thinking?!!" It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling "You never let me do anything!" could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as "Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?" He'd be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, "No, I felt scared." Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It's not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don't have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don't even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don't worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don't let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I've been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rubella perform a gap analysis, page construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, site perform a gap analysis, tadalafil construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, rheumatologist perform a gap analysis, anorexia construct a change exercise (training, pilule  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, medications perform a gap analysis, clinic construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first. Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergy perform a gap analysis, construct a change exercise (training, restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, allergist perform a gap analysis, dermatologist construct a change exercise (training, store  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, stuff perform a gap analysis, ed construct a change exercise (training, thumb  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
One of the take aways that I really valued from David Anderson’s Advanced Kanban Workshop was the value of selling evolutionary change. He explained that the standard approach to change management consulting is paint to a rosy future scenario, pharmacy perform a gap analysis, there construct a change exercise (training, resuscitator  restructuring, etc.) to bridge the gap, and then plummet into the J-curve and risk being fired before the organisation manages to claw its way out.

j curve effect

David Anderson’s Drawing of the J-Curve Effect

That’s an extreme simplification of a topic that actually required a couple hours of discussion, but it’s sufficient to lead to the next point.

The Kanban method stresses starting with the process you have now. Change nothing, just commit to improvement and implement tools to give you insight into the process, metrics to demonstrate improvement when it happens, and short feedback loops needed to test ideas and adapt with minimal risk. This, David said, was an easier sell because it is less threatening (no one has their job title and responsibilities changed overnight) and more likely to succeed.

So, I liked the idea and shared it with the attendees of my last Kanban workshop. One of them, a Scrum coach from Warsaw, asked whether an evolutionary approach could lead us to the same place as the traditional change management approach. Good question. I hadn’t thought about it before, but, being an anthropologist by training, my answer was “no” and this blog post is about explaining why I said that.

I’ll enlist the help of a giraffe. His name’s Fred:

image

Like all mammals, Fred has a larynx controlled by his brain, and Fred is the product of evolutionary change. Fred’s larynx is just about 10 inches from his brain, because it’s at the top of his next and so is his head, as you might expect. Fred’s getting impatient, so he bellows for me to get to the damn point. His brain got impatient first and sent the impulse to bellow right down that nerve to his larynx. A short trip? Not really. Silly evolution decided that the best way to route a nerve between one thing on the top of his neck and another thing on the top of his neck was to wrap it around his aorta first.

Here’s Fred’s laryngeal nerve:
Giraffe laryngeal nerve

Now who decided THAT was a good idea?

That’s where evolution gets you. It’s a hell of a lot better than being a fish, at least from the giraffe’s point of view, but the evolutionary path from fish to giraffe has some constraints. The corresponding nerve in a fish makes sense. A straight line between a fish’s brain and its gills passes the heart, so the nerve crossing behind the heart is pretty sensible. Here’s the thing, though. Evolution starts with the existing processes and systems and changes them incrementally. re-routing a nerve is not an incremental change, it’s a revolutionary change.

A change management consultant would propose a complete redesign, painful surgery, and a series of risky genetic experiments to redesign that nerve. They might even succeed if the giraffes didn’t object to the pain and risk and ploughed through those experiments bravely focussed on the goal.

In either case, you can’t step in the same stream twice. Will evolutionary change take you to the same place as revolutionary change? No. Will it be a better or a worse place? You’ll never know. The question isn’t which has a better result, but which has a lower risk of failure. I’d take a working giraffe over a dead fish any day.

 
Here is a brief summary of the key elements of the popular talk I gave recently on listening skills.

I believe the next advance in how we build software won’t come from a new process or tool for organizing work, see but from new ideas about how we think and relate to one another during the creative process. That’s why I’ve been reading more about communication and relationships than about Kanban, adiposity Scrum, SAFe, XP, etc., lately.

Here’s what I’ve found most useful from my new approach to thinking about collaboration.

Listening well creates a space for better thinking while improving relationships and practicing respect for others. If you are not great at listening, an easy first step is to stop talking. Then stop thinking about talking and pretend, if it’s not obvious to you yet, that the person who is talking is as good at thinking as you are. You may suddenly have a good idea, or you may have information that the person speaking doesn’t. That’s not a good enough reason to interrupt them when they are thinking. Trust yourself to have that good idea or recall that helpful fact when your turn to speak comes. Your turn to speak is not the moment the current speaker pauses to take a breath. You may not be interrupting their sentence, but you are interrupting their thinking, which harms the quality of their thinking and the quality of your relationship. If someone knows you will interrupt them, they rush their thinking and get flustered. If, from experience, they know you won’t interrupt, they are free to take their time to think clearly and carefully. Moreover, they are more likely to think well if they can tell that you believe they are capable of it. If you think they are done, don’t ask “are you done?” That’s a leading question. Ask some variation of “is there anything else?” When there’s nothing else, it’s your turn. You’ll find this approach leads to better ideas, less confrontation, more efficient communication, and people will like and respect you more.

Sometimes talking isn’t about thinking as much as it is about expression. In these instances, while listening as you would in a thinking environment is helpful, non-violent communication can provide powerful tools. At its core, non-violent communication is about understanding each other without judgement or manipulation. When someone speaks to another person, underlying their words is an attempt to communicate feelings, needs and requests, usually motivated by some observation. The four components of effective communication are therefore observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Unfortunately, many utterances are not very effective. For example, a parent sees her son doing a dangerous trick on his bicycle. Does she say, “Son, when I saw you doing something that could result in you getting hurt I felt scared because your presence enriches my life with love, inspiration, and a feeling of purpose and the fear that I might lose you and all that you are to me is terrifying. Would you be willing to wear a helmet when you ride your bike and if you must do tricks, to do them in the stunt riding park where there are people who can help you to learn to do them safely?” No, she probably doesn’t say that. What she says instead is “What the hell were you thinking?!!” It goes both ways, too. The son, rather than yelling “You never let me do anything!” could also ask questions to help his mother discover and express her feelings, needs, and requests, such as “Did you feel angry when I did tricks on my bike in the driveway?” He’d be wrong, but that opens the door for the mother to say, “No, I felt scared.” Now the conversation is on a productive track.

It’s not easy to do, though, and learning to discipline your mind through simple techniques like mindfulness meditation can help you learn to shift your focus and way of thinking on the fly. You don’t have to be spiritual to mediate, or particularly skilled. You don’t even have to do it well for it to be effective. The simplest mindfulness exercise anyone can do is to count your breaths, 1-10, and then repeat for a few minutes. If your mind wanders or you lose count, don’t worry, just start again at 1. The simple process of 1) noticing that your mind has wandered and 2) bringing it back to the task of counting your breaths makes you both more aware of the way that thoughts and feelings drift in and drift out without needing to affect reality of you don’t let them and it teaches you to bring your focus back to where you want it to be. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

MindMap of the Talk

http://paulklipp.com/images/listeningmm.pdf

Sources

I’ve been reading a lot on these topics, but these are the three primary sources that contributed to this talk:

Kline, N. (2002). Time to think: Listening to ignite the human mind. Kwinana, W.A.: Graewood Business Services.

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Rosenberg, M., & Rosenberg, M. (2003). Non-violent communication: A language of life : Create your life, your relationships & your world in harmony with your values (Revised/Expanded ed.). Encinitas, Calif.: Puddle Dancer ;.

Learn More

Thinking Environment:

http://www.timetothink.com/uploaded/PM%20article.pdf

http://www.timetothink.com/learn/articles/

http://www.timetothink.com/thinking-environment/research-and-case-studies/

Non-violent communication:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=non-violent+communication

Mindfulness:

Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

Puddicombe, A. (2011). Get some headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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